Wednesday Kobe Bryant plays his final game. Let me be the first to admit. I wasn’t a Kobe fan. I liked Magic better. I liked Michael better. I blamed Kobe for breaking up Shaq/Kobe at the time.
When Kobe came into the NBA. I thought he was a ball hog and a selfish player. Yep I didn’t care for Kobe. A couple of things swayed my opinion though Don’t get me wrong Kobe Byrant doesn’t make my personal 5 favorite player list, but he deserves all the accolades he has received.
First when playing for Team USA basketball wasn’t a high priority for many NBA stars. I credit Bryant and Lebron James for helping revitalize the interest in playing for Team USA. Also when Bryant scored an astonishing 81 ponts on January 22, 2006 that was the first time I looked at Bryant in a different light.
I was late to the party, but that’s when I saw Bryant as truly great player. Dunks, 3 pointers, drives to the basket, mid-range jumpers, fade-ways – Bryant’s entire arsenal of offensive moves was in display that night.
Bryant was a winner too. He had already won 3 NBA titles by then, but winning titles in 2009 and 2010 put Bryant in elite company.
His 20 year career was noted by his longevity and hardwork. It took me awhile to appreciate Kobe Bryant, but the NBA will miss him. Whether you were a fan of Bryant or not you had an opinion about him. You compared him to Michael Jordan. You compared him to Lebron James. Isn’t that one of the marks of greatness? When you can compare a player’s status in the game with fellow greats, you know that is one of the all-timers. That was Kobe Bryant. A unique talent, the paved the way for era for this generation’s early entry NBA players. They saw Kobe become a start right out of high school.
A Hall-Of-Famer and one of the most dangerous all-around scorers the NBA has ever seen.